четвъртък, 29 юни 2023 г.

The Four Musical Instruments in T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets Vladimir Levchev



  • 1)  Sounding Relevant: The Waste Land’s Centenary
    William Davies (1-24)
  • 2)  Emily Hale: The Professor That Eliot Loved
    Sara Fitzgerald (25-49)
  • 3)  A Brief Suggestive Note on Eliot’s Sideline Religion
    Ronald Knox (50-52)
  • 4)  The Four Musical Instruments in T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets
    Vladimir Levchev (53-95)

Contributors (96-97) 

The Four Musical Instruments in T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets Vladimir Levchev


As we know from his 1942 essay, ‘The Music of Poetry,’i T. S. Eliot believed that “... [T]he music of poetry is not something that exists apart from the meaning” and “There are possibilities for verse which bear some analogy to the development of a theme by different groups of instruments; there are possibilities of transitions in a poem comparable to the different movements of a symphony or a quartet.”

We know that Eliot's interest in music and in the musical aspect of speech and of verse dates back to his earliest poems, from 1910–11, when he was a student at Harvard and the Sorbonne (‘Preludes’, ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’), and which were also influenced by the French Symbolists. His 19- years older sister Ada says in a letter to him, after the publication of his essay and a little before her death: “ When you were a tiny boy, learning to talk, you used to sound the rhythm of sentences without shaping words — the ups and downs of the thing you were trying to say. I used to answer you in kind, saying nothing yet conversing with you as we sat side

However, the culmination of this harmony between sound, music and meaning of the words, “objectified” in images, which Eliot has always sought, is marked by Four Quartetsiii, where philosophical meaning and musical structure are difficult to separate.


The Quartets of course, are not quartets because there are four of them. And when he wrote ‘Burnt Norton’, Eliot still did not have a documented intention to write three more poems, repeating the same complex musical pattern, which he did between 1936 and 1942. In fact, this structure in five parts repeats the structure of The Waste Land. But here, in the Quartets, we have a purely musical approach to the composition and inseparability of sound and meaning.

Even before he began writing his first poetic quartet, ‘Burnt Norton’, Eliot writes in a letter to Stephen Spender from 1931: “...I have the A minor quartet [by Beethoven, opus 132] on the gramophone, and I find it quite inexhaustible to study ... I should like to get something of that into verse once before I die. ”iv Four years later, he wrote ‘Burnt Norton’.

The fact that the next three poems in the cycle, the idea of which came to him later, repeat the same structure (and in fact the structure of a poem is always musical, because poetry, like music, is a temporal art), shows that he has thought very precisely and in detail about this musical structure. Each one of Eliot’s Quartets has five parts, as does Beethoven's String Quartet in A minor, which seems to have inspired the poet for his first Quartet.

A string quartet consists of four instruments with four strings each. The main human vocal ranges are also four: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The harmony between the four instruments in a quartet is likened to the harmony of the four natural elements (air, earth, fire, water), the four directions of the world, and the four seasons. Eliot’s Quartets have matching elements and seasons.

Much has been written about the structure and music of the Quartets. Helen Gardner, in The Art of T. S. Eliot and later in The Composition of Four Quartets, beautifully describes the five parts of both Beethoven's string quartet and Eliot’s Quartets:

“The first movement suggests at once a musical analogy. In each poem it contains statement-and counter- statement, or two contrasted but related themes, like the first and second subjects of a movement in strict sonata form. ...

“The simplest is the treatment of the river and sea images in The Dry Salvages, the symbols for two different kinds of time...
“The second movement is constructed on the opposite principle of a single subject handled in two boldly contrasted ways. ...

“The movement opens with a highly poetical lyric passage, in a traditional metrical form ...This is followed immediately by an extremely colloquial passage, in which the idea which had been treated in metaphor and symbol in the first half of the movement is expanded and developed in a conversational manner...

“In the third movement one is less conscious of musical analogies. The third movement is the core of each poem, out of which reconcilement grows: it is an exploration with a twist of the ideas of the first two movements... “At the close of these centre movements, particularly in East Coker and Little Gidding, the ear is prepared for the lyric fourth movement...

“After the brief lyrical movement, the fifth recapitulates the themes of the poem with personal and topical applications and makes a resolution of the contradictions of the first..”v (Gardner, Art of T. S. Eliot, pp. 37-42)

The suggestion that the five parts of the quartets follow the structure of Beethoven's string quartet in A minor is very convincing, given not only Helen Gardner's wonderful interpretation, but also Eliot's own letter to Spender. However, there is something strange here: as we said, the Quartets repeat

The Waste Land was written fifteen years before the first Quartet and nine years before Eliot's letter to Spender about Beethoven's quartet. This famous poem was heavily edited and restructured by Ezra Pound. It is not only that The Waste Land is in five parts, however; those parts also have internal structure similar to that of the Quartets.

In the first part, there is a conflict of different voices (the story of Countess Marie Larisch and the story of Tristan and Isolde from the libretto of Wagner's opera of the same name) — but here, in The Waste Land, we hear more than two voices.

In the second part there is a development of the same theme — about impossible communication — the dysfunctional relationships of two married couples. (And this part also begins with a long metric passage, in the iambic pentameter of Shakespeare’s plays.)

The third, the longest part of The Waste Land, represents an infernal topos (London) and a possible redemption.

The fourth, the shortest part (also metric) is a stylisation based on ancient mythology; and the fifth part, ‘What the Thunder Said’, gives the possible way out, the resurrection and revival of the waste land.

How can the theory that the Quartets repeat the structure of The Waste Land and the theory that they repeat the structure of Beethoven's Quartet exist together? Is Pound or Beethoven the "father" of the complex structure of the Quartets?

There are two possible explanations of this paradox: either Eliot thought of a musical structure similar to that of a string quartet as early as 1922 (but there is no evidence for this), or the structure of The Waste Land by a lucky chance coincided with the structure of Beethoven's quartet, which, already consciously, Eliot imitates, or rather interprets in poetic form, in ‘Burnt Norton’, his first Quartet. In either case, the structure of the Quartets coincides (to some extent) with the structure of The Waste Land, and also coincides with the structure of Beethoven’s Quartet.

Now let us consider another problem, which it is more important to solve, if we accept that Eliot intentionally wanted to repeat a musical structure in a poem. In a musical quartet, the four ‘voices’ (instruments) can be heard simultaneously. How can this polyphony be achieved in a poem, if we are not talking about some ‘performance poetry’ read by four voices simultaneously?

In my opinion, apart from this musical structure in five parts, each one of them with different tempo, melody and motifs, in Eliot's Quartets, there are also four different voices, four different discourses, or musical instruments that can be clearly heard and distinguished. Although they do not sound simultaneously, when we finish reading the poem, the four instruments will sound simultaneously in our mind, as they do in a musical quartet.


In Eliot's earlier works, we often can hear the voices of various ‘characters’ arguing in a dramatic dialogue. In the Quartets this dialogue, or conversation, is brought to a musical and philosophical abstraction. We no longer have the voices of several lyrical characters, but a ‘conversation’ between four musical instruments — like the two violins, the viola and the cello in Beethoven's quartets. As Eliot says in his essay ‘The Music of Poetry’: "In the concert hall, not in the opera house, the embryo of poetry can develop.”vi

Of course, such an interpretation of the poems, as many- voiced structures, faces the problem mentioned above. In poetry, the ‘instruments’ (or voices) cannot sound simultaneously as they do in a string quartet. There is actually one voice, the voice of the poet, which can successively change, or ‘sing’ in different ways, imitating or adopting different voices. But even if we hear those voices successively, and not simultaneously, after reading the whole poem, the four voices, or string instruments, begin to sound in our mind together.

In the same way, the successive depiction of the details of a landscape in a poem, verse by verse, ultimately helps us to see something complete: a garden of roses, villagers dancing by the bonfire, the ocean. In the visual arts, which are spatial, two- dimensional or three-dimensional, and not temporal, we can see the whole landscape immediately from the respective distance of observation. But in literature, the landscape is successively narrated. It is the same with the ‘musical instruments’ in Eliot’s Quartets — although they ‘play’ successively, in the final account, after we have read the whole poem, they start to sound together, as in a musical composition with four instruments.

We are talking about ‘playing’ four different instruments, or ‘imitating’ four different voices, which the poet's voice adopts (in the sense of mimesis according to Aristotle). We are not talking about ‘voices’ in the sense of Eliot's essay ‘The Three Voices in Poetry’vii. Here, Eliot defines them as follows: 1. When the poet speaks to himself, 2. When he addresses an audience, 3. When he creates a dramatic character. In Eliot’s Quartets, we constantly hear his own individual voice as a poet, speaking to himself, and not the voice of a dramatic character in a play or the voice of a public speaker on stage. But we can hear the poet's voice adopt successively four different instruments, which develop in different ways the same motifs — the philosophical idea of circular time and eternity — the “still point of the turning world”. The same powerful voice of the poet is embodied in four different styles or discourses, sings consecutively in four different ways, or plays four different instruments.

2.1. Burnt Norton

Let us trace in detail how these metamorphoses, or immersions of the voice of the poet, are achieved in ‘Burnt Norton’, the first of the four Quartets This is the air and spring poem, if take into account that each one of the four Quartets corresponds to one element and one season.

‘Burnt Norton’ (1936) begins with a philosophical, non- poetically dry and rational discourse, with a stern voice that speaks about time. This is linear flowing time, but the voice also presupposes the idea of circular time, because the present and the past are in the future, and the future is in the past:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future

...What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present. (I, 1-10)

Another discourse follows, or another ‘musical instrument’ which ‘plays’ the Rose Garden. To the dry abstract philosophy, this second voice contrasts a heavenly landscape:

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage we did not take Towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden. My words echo Thus, in your mind. (I,11-15)

So we enter the Rose garden. First, the discourse has totally changed — from dry and abstract it has become bright and visual: a garden with roses, birds, voices, a fountain, hiding children. But what is the Rose garden?

On a superficial level (superficial not in the sense of insignificant, but in the sense of the water surface that hides depths), this is the real garden of the Burnt Norton mansion. Eliot had visited with Emily Hale. After the release of Eliot’s letters to Emily Hale, it becomes clear that she was “the hidden muse” behind this and may other poems of the ‘impersonal’ poet. Eliot always tried to hide the personal motivation behind his poems.

But this real garden is also a symbolic topos in ‘Burnt Norton’. In Christianity, the rose is a symbol of Virgin Mary, depicted by Dante as “rosa sempiterna”viii Of course, the Rose Garden is also the Garden of Eden. On the other hand, because symbols depend on the context, the rose may also be the symbol of life, of love, or it could be the heraldic symbol of England (which we will discuss when the rose reappears again in the concluding verses of the last Quartet). But here it reminds us of Paradise Lost. And also of lost childhood. A child is closest to the Garden of Eden (as in Wordsworth's ‘Intimations of Immortality’) . And in Eliot’s Rose garden the spirits of the past are present, they are here, now — we hear their children's laughter in the leaves — as memories from childhood, or from Heaven (the lost paradise):

... Other echoes Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?

...Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind 

Cannot bear very much reality. (I,18-43)

So, if the first instrument in the first part of ‘Burnt Norton’, the dry philosophical voice, speaks of time, the second one speaks of eternity. The problem is how to combine the two — time and eternity.

In the Rose garden we find another flower associated with Buddhism and the state of nirvana (it is similar in Hinduism) — the Buddhist equivalent of heavenly bliss and salvation: “And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,/And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly, ” (I,35-36)

We can say that the Rose garden in Burnt Norton, with the talking thrush and the laughter of invisible children, is one topos (both real and symbolic — symbolising paradise and eternity), to which another will be opposed later in the poem, the infernal topos: the London Underground. But here, in the first part of the first Quartet, we hear clearly the ‘argument’ between the first two musical instruments (the philosophical and the figuratively pastoral one) playing the quartet — an argument between two violins, an argument about time and eternity.

In the last three lines of the first part we again can hear the first ‘violin’: “Time past and time future...Point to one end, which is always present.”

The second part of Burnt Nortonbegins with 15 shorter lines that are radically different in style:

Garlic and sapphires in the mud 

Clot the bedded axle-tree.

...Below, the hoarhound and the boar
Pursue their pattern as before
But reconciled among the stars.” (II,1-15)

This is classic verse — rhyming iambic tetrameter. But the poetic voice itself here is radically different; we might say that some 'old-fashioned' poetics has appeared in the middle of the twentieth century— a highly symbolic voice, including both mythology and astrology. However, here for the first time, an idea basic for this poem, as well as for the other three, appears: the idea of time and eternity figured as a geometric sign. Here we see the fixed point in the middle of the circle, the axis of the endlessly rotating world. The fixed point is the axis of the wheel, which rolls through the mud, where there are "sapphire and garlic” — symbols of high and low.

Immediately after that, in the second part of ‘Burnt Norton’, the same motif of the still point (the centre) and the turning world, the wheel of time (circular time) is developed by the first, dry philosophical voice (the first violin that has set the theme in the beginning):

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;

Neither from, nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,

.... Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. (II,16-21)

This fixed point, the centre, is beyond time and space. We can figuratively say that this is the point where the compass of the Creator is nailed, in order to draw the circle — the temporal and spatial world of diurnal and annual cycles — the turning world.

At the end of this part of the poem (lines 39-41), the second voice (or violin) can be heard again describing the rose garden — this time with an arbour and a draughty church. (Similarly, in the last two lines of the first part, after the voice describing the garden, the first philosophical voice sounded briefly again.)

But in general, the four voices (instruments) sound separately in long whole passages of the different parts of the poem. So far, in the first two parts of ‘Burnt Norton’, we have heard three voices, or three ‘musical instruments’: the dry- philosophical one (talking about past, present and future), the figurative-pastoral one (talking about the rose garden) and the old-fashioned lyrical one (in classical verse and symbolistic).

In the third part of ‘Burnt Norton’, we finally hear the fourth instrument, or the fourth voice, the deepest one — perhaps the cello. This voice, in contrast to the second violin, in contrast to the Rose garden, introduces an infernal topos. If we read more carefully, we will recognise the London Underground — this Tube, in which we fly in the dark on the metal rails of linear time:

Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London.

Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney, Highgate, 

Primrose and Ludgate. Not here ...
. . .;while the world moves
In appetency, on its metalled ways

Of time past and time future. (III, 21-32)

Linear time, which moves from past to future on its metal rails, is part of this infernal landscape — the time that has a beginning and an end, a first and last stop.

In the next, fourth part (it is the shortest one — similar to the shortest fourth part in The Waste Land), we hear again the lyrical old-fashioned voice, but here it paints a pastoral landscape with flowers, not a symbolic astrological landscape as in the beginning of the second part. And the verse here again is classical: “Time and the bell have buried the day, /The black cloud carries the sun away....”

The last, the fifth part of ‘Burnt Norton’, as well as the fifth part of the next three quartets, in a sense presents a solution to the conflict between time and eternity, between mortal life and immortality. In each one of the four Quartets, the fifth part consists of words about the word — verses about writing in verse: we are told how art tries to reconcile the temporal with the eternal, to express the eternal using the temporary, to embody eternal ideas in impermanent material form.

Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living 

Can only die. Words, after speech, reach Into the silence ... (V, 1-3)

This is again the dry philosophical voice, the first violin that has set the theme of time. But at the end of this last part of the Quartet, the second violin plays again, and we again see quick shots from the Rose garden, with its lost childhood, where the door to Paradise is hidden:

Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
Even while the dust moves
There rises the hidden laughter
Of children in the foliage
Quick now, here, now, always — 

Ridiculous the waste sad time 

Stretching before and after. (V, 33-39)

To sum up, we can hear the first ‘musical instrument’ (violin), or the dry philosophical voices in the first 10 lines of part I of Burnt Norton, and in lines 44 - 46, while the second ‘violin’, or the figurative-pastoral voice, can be heard in lines 11- 43. In the first 15 lines of part II, we can hear the third ‘instrument’ (the viola), or the old-fashioned symbolic voice, after which the first ‘instrument’ (the dry philosophical voice) sounds again between lines 16 and 43. In part III, we can hear mostly the fourth ‘instrument’ (the cello), with a little interference of the first ‘instrument’ in the last five lines. In part IV, we can hear only the third ‘instrument’ (the viola). In part V, the first violin sounds again with a return to the second one in the last 5 lines of the poem.

Now let us see how this poetic and musical structure, which is intrinsically connected to the philosophical content of the poem ‘Burnt Norton’ (1936), is repeated in Eliot’s next three Quartets, written between 1940 and 1942.

2.2. East Coker
The second
Quartet, ‘East Coker’ (1940), which is associated

In my beginning is my end. In succession Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,

...Houses live and die: there is time for building

...And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots 

And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto. (I, 1-13)

Here the ‘first violin’, the dry philosophical voice that announces and discusses the theme of time, has gained more material substance, compared to the voice in the beginning of ‘Burnt Norton’: “Time present and time past...” Time here is embodied in the image of houses that are built and demolished. "In my beginning is my end”, the first line of the poem is, on the one hand, a reversal of the motto of Mary Stewart "In my end is my beginning" (which is also the last line of the poem); and, on the other, one with a very personal meaning for T. S. Eliot. His distant ancestor, the forefather of the American Eliot family, the Puritan Andrew Eliot, left for the New World in the 17th century from East Coker. Eliot's ashes rest today in East Coker village church. Thus the poet has literally returned to his roots, to his beginning.

(The phrase In my beginning is my end could also be read in a slightly different way, because the word "end" could mean not only literally the end of something, but also aim or intention, the purpose of an action – or, in this case, of life.)

The first part of ‘East Coker’ is more complex in structure than the first part of ‘Burnt Norton’. Here, the first voice again announces its dry, philosophical statement, the motif of the poem, but immediately afterwards this materialises in a detailed visualisation: the houses, which should be an example of strength and endurance in time, rise and fall, and in their place others emerge. (This is also related to the air raids during World War II.)

The second ‘violin’ (lines 14 - 49) or the pastoral- figurative voice, which opposes the first one’s dry philosophical discourse about time, presents a picture, a visualisation of the eternal in the temporary, the immortal in the mortal. In this Quartet, instead of the Rose garden, we have a medieval country dance. This is the earth quartet. And ‘the dance’ is actually present in all four quartets together with music. At night, the spirits of the medieval villagers of East Coker awaken and dance with drums and bagpipes around the bonfire in the bare field near the village:

In that open field

If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close

On a summer midnight, you can hear the music 

Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman

In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie —

 A dignified and commodiois sacrament.

(I, 24-30)

Here, even the language, or at least the spelling of some words, has become archaic. But the two ‘arguing’ voices again present the image of linear time — the houses that rise and fall, live and die — and the image of eternity beyond and within time — the spirits of the medieval inhabitants of the village. But note that they dance in a circle around the bonfire: thus the turning world dances around the still point.

Again, at the end of the first part of ‘East Coker’, as well as at the end of ‘Burnt Norton’, the timeless dance of folk spirits ends at sunrise, and we briefly return to the philosophical discourse of time. We hear the sound of the ‘first violin’: “Out at sea the dawn wind/Wrinkles and slides. I am here/Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.”

The second part of ‘East Coker’, like the second part of ‘Burnt Norton’, begins with the third voice (let's say, ‘the voice of the viola’ ) — with classical rhyming verse (lines 1-17) and old-fashioned symbolistic poetics:

What is the late November doing
With the disturbance of the spring
And creatures of the summer heat,
And snowdrops writhing under feet... (II,1-4)

Again at the end of this classical verse poem within the poem, inserted amidst the long lines of free ‘prosaic’ verse, we find wars (whatever happens in the skies determines what happens on earth — the way up and the way down are the same way) — destructive fire and frost. (Let us repeat again, that when Eliot wrote this second Quartet, World War II had already begun.)

Immediately after the symbolic message of the third lyrical voice, the viola, this discourse is countered, or

interpreted, by the first dry philosophical voice. In this case, the opposing voice , the voice with which the poet comments on his own symbolistic picture, is sarcastic; “That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory: /A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion...” (lines18-19)

In fact, the irony, or self-irony, because the poet is actually commenting on himself, is quite strong in this passage (lines 18-48), as well as later in the poem. It seems that we can feel here the fatigue and frustration of the old Western civilisation, involved once again in a terrible war: “...Had they deceived us/Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders, /Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?” (lines 25-27)

This part of the first violin, the frustrated philosophical voice, ends with the following words:

... Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly, 

Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,

Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
(II, 43-48)

At the end of the second part of the second Quartet we return again to the main theme developed in the beginning, with the first ‘violin’ — time — the disappearing old houses, and its counterpoint — the dance of the ancient spirits of peasants resurrected from the earth: The houses have all gone under the sea /The dancers are all gone under the hill.” (lines 49-50)

In the third part of this Quartet, as well as in the third part of ‘Burnt Norton’, we again have a long cello solo (lines 1- 32). This is the deep, dark, infernal counterpoint of the

‘heavenly’ topos. In ‘East Coker’ the heavenly topos is the mythical night with the spirts of the ancient villagers dancing around the bonfire, while in ‘Burnt Norton’ we hear the laughter of the invisible children in the Rose garden. But, as in the first Quartet, the counterpoint to this pastoral-mythical imagery, the infernal topos, is again the London Underground. In ‘East Coker’, this infernal topos, presented by the fourth instrument, is both clearer and more symbolical. Here we can also feel an angry socio-political nuance — the bourgeois urban world going down into the subway, sinking in darkness:

O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,

...And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha

And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors,

And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral, 

Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury. (III, 1-11)

The Almanach de Gotha is a list of monarchies in Europe. It is clear what the Stock Exchange Gazette represents. It is interesting that their "darkening" comes after the darkening of the sun and moon. But here again appears the image of the London Underground — the underworld where everyone will go, into the dark. In addition (and before that) we have the image of the theatre. The darkness between two theatrical acts, the darkness at the moment of rearranging the stage, the historical stage, or the background darkness of our being :

... As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed

...Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations

...And you see behind every face the mental emptiness

deepenLeaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about; (III, 13-21)

At the end of the third part, in the last 14 lines, the first philosophical voice sounds again, discussing time and the possibility (through the absurd, through paradox) of getting rid of it, of going beyond time :

In order to arrive at what you are not

You must go through the way in which you are not. And what you do not know is the only thing you know And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not. (III, 42-46)

In Eliot’s Quartets there is no imitation of instrumental music through the musicality of language. (As a counterpoint to the rhyming classical verse, we hear deliberately non-musical prosaic passages.) The Quartets have musical movements, musical structure, and not necessarily musical sound. We have a combination of four different discourses — similar to the simultaneous playing of four different musical instruments in a string quartet. Four different voices speak about time and eternity. In Eliot’s Quartets music and philosophy are one. And this moving unity is poetry.

The fourth part of ‘East Coker’, like the fourth part of ‘Burnt Norton’, is the shortest and most lyrical — here we hear only the third voice, the voice of the viola. But in this second Quartet (written during the War), there is an earthly, ruthless, ironic directness. Even the lyrically-symbolic voice here speaks of the wounded surgeon in the world's hospital. And the sacrament of the Eucharist — eating the wafer (which is the body of Christ ) and drinking the wine (His blood) — sounds brutal, like sacrilege, like cannibalism. The sacrament is reduced to carnal pain, to the work of the surgeon in the hospital. The world is a hospital:

The wounded surgeon plies the steel That questions the distempered part;

...The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

(IV, 1-25)

In the fifth and final part of ‘East Coker’, we hear again the first philosophical voice, the first violin that has established the theme of time. And again, as it was in the first Quartet, the philosophical voice talks about art, about artistic creation as a way, or at least an attempt, to sense eternity in the mortal world, to experience timelessness in time.

In ‘East Coker’ the last part also resonates like a personal confession. A confession of the artist who has taken the middle way (via media), both in politics and religion, the artist who has aged in the years between the two wars — l'entre deux guerres (because the Second War of the century has already begun) — the artist trying to use words to achieve impossible harmony, to show the eternal in the temporary form of language (because there is no other form than sound and images that mortal people can see or hear):

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twentyyears—

Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deuxguerresT

rying to use words, and every attempt

Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure...

(V, 1-4)

And at the end of the last part of this Quartet, we return to the heavenly topos, visually presented, and the second violin, as it was at the end of the first Quartet:

There is a time for the evening under starlight, 

A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).

...Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my 
beginning. (V, 26-38)

The last words of the poem are a reversal of its first. This is circular time: the beginning is the end, the end is the beginning — time that can project eternity — the still point at the centre of the turning world can be projected anywhere on the circumference. The centre is everywhere and nowhere.

East Coker, the birthplace of the Eliot family, will .

2.3 The Dry Salvages

‘The Dry Salvages’ is the ‘water’ Quartet. It was written in 1941. Eliot started it during a bombing raid on London and finished it relatively quickly. We know that each of the Quartets is named after a geographical location, but this is the only one that is in the United States. From England we go to New England. Here we can find Eliot’s memories from his childhood in St. Louis near the Mississippi River and his youth in Boston by the ocean.

In this Quartet, the two violins, the first two voices that argue in the first part, are objectified in a most clear and visual way. Time, linear time, is represented here by the river. We cannot enter the same river twice.

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river Is a strong brown god—

...Unhonoured, unpropitiated

By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting. (I, 1-10)

Time is a river, but the river is also personified as a brown god. In the next verses, the first voice takes us back to Tom's childhood in St. Louis, on the bank of the Mississippi — this is the sullen, untamed and intractable, and patient to some degree, brown god.

At the end the river reaches the sea: "The river is within us, the sea is all about us”. The sea has many voices and many gods. It is the equivalent of the Rose garden in ‘Burnt Norton’ and the dance of the medieval peasants around the bonfire in ‘East Coker’. The sea here (lines 15- 48) is the heavenly topos, the voice of eternity. Or death. The river, our finite linear time, flows into the sea which “has many voices,/may gods and many voices” ( lines 23-24) Or maybe the sea is circular time, which gives us some idea of eternity — the repetition of seasons — the turning world around the still point:

And under the oppression of the silent fog
The tolling bell
Measures time not our time, rung by the unhurried Ground swell, a time

Older than the time of chronometers,

...And the ground swell, that is and was from the beginning,

The bell. (I, 34-49)

In the second part of ‘The Dry Salvages’, the motif of time, here in its tragic aspect — the constant dying — is taken up by the third voice, the old-fashioned symbolistic voice, the viola. In this Quartet, however, the first part of the viola is much longer — it consists of six sestets (a sestina). The lines in each sestet do not rhyme internally, but they rhyme with the corresponding lines in all other sestets (which is similar to the sestina pattern). The rhyme in the last line of each sestet is: annunciation, renunciation, annunciation, destination, examination, and Annunciation.

There is no end of it, the voiceless wailing,
No end to the withering of withered flowers,
To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless, To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage,
The bone's prayer to Death its God. Only the hardly,

barely prayable
Prayer of the one Annunciation. (II, 31-36)

Immediately after that, the tragic motif of time is taken up again by the first violin, by the prosaic philosophical voice:

It seems, as one becomes older,

That the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence — (II,37-38)

But the tragic experience is not something personal:

... the past experience revived in the meaning Is not the experience of one life only
But of many generations—

...The backward look behind the assurance
Of recorded history, the backward half-look
Over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror.
(II, 49-55)

And at the end of this part we hear again an echo of the dispute between the two violins. Here, the moment when the river flows into the sea is described again:

Time the destroyer is time the preserver,

Like the river with its cargo of dead negroes, cows and chicken coops,

...On a halcyon day it is merely a monument,
In navigable weather it is always a seamark
To lay a course by: but in the sombre season
Or the sudden fury, is what it always was. (II, 67-75)

The river looks like the Mississippi. We even hear echoes from the journey of Huckleberry Finn and Jim down the river. (Incidentally, Samuel Clemens {Mark Twain} spent his childhood in Hannibal, Missouri, a little north along the Mississippi from Eliot’s birthplace. From there, Jim and Huck go down the river by the bright big city of St Louis.)

As the author himself tells us at the beginning of this Quartet, ‘The Dry Salvages’ are a rock formation in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Massachusetts. The Mississippi goes down south and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. But the ‘geographical’ authenticity here is rather connected with the life of T. S. Eliot, with the movement of his inner river, his life, which took him from St. Louis north to Boston, Massachusetts, and then further east across the ocean.

In this most American of the Four Quartets, we can also hear echoes of Walt Whitman's verse with its long free prosaic lines. Walt Whitman is the father of modern American poetry and the first American poet to use free verse. But it is very different from the musical and rhythmic vers libre that Eliot took from the Symbolists and developed to a virtuoso musicality. Eliot states that there are three kinds of free verse: Whitman 's, Pound's and his own. For him, Whitman's verse is more like prose. But consciously or not, in ‘The Dry Salvages’, Eliot adapted to some extent Whitman's American poetic voice.

In the third part of this Quartet we expect to hear the fourth voice: let us say, the cello, to ‘depict’ or narrate the infernal topos of linear time — the counterpoint to the heavenly topos — the rose garden in ‘Burnt Norton’ and the dance of the villagers in ‘East Coker’. In each of the first two Quartets the London Underground appears at this point. But here, in ‘The Dry Salvages’, instead of the underground train, a transatlantic ship sails between Europe and America.

Moreover, in this Quartet, and exactly here in the third part, together with the Christian symbolism, together with the transatlantic ship, the Hindu god Krishna appears. We have already seen the blossoming of the Buddhist lotus flower in the dry fountain, in the rose garden, in ‘Burnt Norton’. Here we have a reference to perhaps the most important Hindu sacred book, the Bhagavad Gita.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the god Krishna (avatar of Vishnu) is born in human form as the charioteer (but also the mentor) of Prince Arjuna. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Prince Arjuna suddenly decides not to fight — not out of fear, but because his relatives, friends and teachers are facing him in the enemy army. Krishna, the charioteer god, convinces him that he must fight — this is his karma. However, in the great religious poem it becomes clear that the story is allegorical: the chariot is the human body with the horses as the senses, Arjuna is the Self, the Ego, and Krishna is the Atman, i.e. the divine spark in every being. The battle is also symbolic — it is the battle with our own vices, which are dear to us like relatives.

At the beginning of the third part of ‘The Dry Salvages’, Krishna appears together with Heraclitus ( "The way up and the way down are the same way" —the epigraph with which Eliot begins his Quartets):

I sometimes wonder if that is what Krishna meant— 

Among other things—or one way of putting the same thing

That the future is a faded song,

...Pressed between yellow leaves of a book that has never been opened.

And the way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back. (III, 1-6)

Then, along with the train on its metal rails from past to future, which we know from the first two Quartets, we have the transatlantic ship:

When the train starts, and the passengers are settled To fruit, periodicals and business letters
(And those who saw them off have left the platform) Their faces relax from grief into relief,

To the sleepy rhythm of a hundred hours.

...Watching the furrow that widens behind you, 

You shall not think 'the past is finished'
Or 'the future is before us'. (III, 9-21)

And at the end of this part, Krishna appears to the sea voyagers, the god who has told Arjuna that we should plant the tree and take care of it, not in order to reap its fruits, but because this is our karma and because the tree has to grow. Elsewhere in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says that whatever sphere of being a  person's consciousness is directed to at the hour of death, there he will go. (Bhagavad Gita, ch. VIII) Eliot says:

At the moment which is not of action or inaction 

You can receive this: "on whatever sphere of being
The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death”— that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
Which shall fructify in the lives of others:
And do not think of the fruit of action.

Fare forward. O voyagers, O seamen ... (III, 32 - 39)

The third part of Beethoven's Quartet in A Minor, opus 132, is the longest, and is entitled Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart (Sacred song of thanksgiving to the deity of a convalescent, in the Lydian key), because Beethoven wrote this quartet after recovering from a serious illness. We called the picture here ‘infernal topos’, but in fact in this part of each Quartet a way of salvation is found, deeper inside, beyond darkness, beyond death.

The next, fourth part, both in Eliot’s Quartets and in Beethoven’s quartet, is the shortest. Here we hear only the third, the lyrical and old-fashioned, symbolic voice ( the viola). In ‘The Dry Salvages’, this part consists of three quintets in free verse. It is a prayer to the Virgin (Figlia del tuo figlio — daughter of her son, as Dante calls her in Paradise 33, 1, and Queen of Heaven ), who is presented as a ship’s figurehead. Or rather, it is a request to her to pray for those who are travelling and those who have drowned.

Repeat a prayer also on behalf of
Women who have seen their sons or husbands Setting forth, and not returning:
Figlia del tuo figlio,
Queen of Heaven. (IV, l6-10)

In the fifth part, we hear the philosophical voice again, the cello; but here, as in the first two Quartets, the voice talks about the possibilities, or about our attempts, to reach the eternal within the temporary — through art or magic.

To communicate with Mars, converse with spirits, 

To report the behaviour of the sea monster, 

Describe the horoscope, haruspicate or scry,

...To explore the wow, or tomb, or dreams; all these are usual

Pastimes and drugs, and features of the press: (V, 1-12)

....But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
   with time, is an occupation for the saint — (V, 17-19)

‘The Dry Salvages’, as all four Quartets, is exactly about this point of intersection of the timeless with time. It ends with the following lines:

...We, content at the last
If our temporal reversion nourish
(Not too far from the yew-tree)
The life of significant soil. (V, 47-50)


The yew is a symbol of death , but in Eliot's Quartets death and 2 4. Little Gidding

‘Little Gidding’ (1942) is Eliot 's most historical and political Quartet. It was written while London was being bombed, during World War II, and it is also full of references to the Civil War. This is the last, the ‘fire’ and ‘winter’ Quartet.

Little Gidding is a village in Huntingdonshire, a stronghold of Anglicanism and Royalism during the Civil War. It is a place King Charles I visited three times. The first part of the fire Quartet mentions Pentecost, the day on which the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of tongues of fire over the heads of the Apostles and they began to preach the Word of God in various tongues.

In this Quartet, the transition between the first, philosophical voice and the second one, which develops the timeless heavenly topos, is smoother and less noticeable. And the time the first voice tells us about already carries timelessness within itself:

Midwinter spring is its own season Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown, Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.

...In windless cold that is the heart's heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier,

Stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but pentecostal fire .... (I, 1-10)

Here, the sun ignites the ice in a “midwinter spring", and this is the fire of Pentecost — the day of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter, is usually in early summer. But the fire of the Holy Spirit is the same in the middle of winter, in this winter Quartet. And “the hedgerow is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom of snow”.

The second voice, or the second ‘violin’, speaks of English history, of the Civil War and the execution of King Charles I:

 If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges

White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.

It would be the same at the end of the journey,
If you came at night like a broken king, ... (23 - 26)

The war was between Anglicans and Protestants, between the aristocracy, the royal power, and the bourgeois Parliament. However, from the perspective of time, the Civil War is long over; the warriors are reconciled and they are brothers in death. In this sense, and because this Quartet is also related to the Second World War, when London was bombed, and the American-born T. S. Eliot had become an English patriot, ‘Little Gidding’ is a poem about reconciliation, about the unification of opposites. Time kills and time heals the wounds. Those who have been at war with each other have become brothers in death. This peace and brotherhood in death is the eternal topos here.

... And what the dead had no speech for, when living, 

They can tell you, being dead:

...Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always. (I, 49-53)

Throughout the second part of this Quartet, the philosophical and symbolic layer of the poem also presents the devastation of war: the bombing of London. The third voice, the lyrical- symbolistic one, or the ‘viola’, again in classical verse, speaks

Ash on an old man's sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave. 

Dust in the air suspended

Marks the place where a story ended.

...The death of hope and despair, 

This is the death of air. (II,1-8)

(Both the story of a life and the story of a building end in dust.) In this last Quartet, with which the cycle ends, the winter and the fire Quartet, the intersection of time with timelessness, with eternity, is simultaneously in the present moment and in history. Those who have fought are reconciled. Both the Royalists and the Republicans are now England. And the dead are now telling us what they could not speak of in their lifetime. This is why, here, in the second segment of the second part (‘played’ again on the first ‘violin’), the same motif of the end and the voice of the dead is embodied in the meeting of the lyrical hero with a spirit from the past, in the midnight mid-war streets of London, in the midst of destruction. (Eliot was a volunteer air-raid warden during the 1940-1941 bombing of London.)

The main ‘ingredient’ of this compound spirit the speaker meets in the second part of the last Quartet is Dante. The whole passage, although unrhymed, imitates the three-line stanza structure (terza rima) of The Divine Comedy. Here the philosophical voice seems to be dancing, not just singing. And the spirit enters the fire, the purifying, purgatorial fire "where you must move in measure, like a dancer”. Music and philosophy become one here, as in the Quartets in general. .

While the dead leaves still rattled on like tin Over the asphalt where no other sound was

Between three districts whence the smoke arose

I met one walking, loitering and hurried 

As if blown towards me like the metal leaves

Before the urban dawn wind unresisting. ...

I caught the sudden look of some dead master 

Whom I had known, forgotten, half recalled

Both one and many; in the brown baked features 

The eyes of a familiar compound ghost ... (II, 30-42)

Albeit in the words of the French symbolist Mallarmé, the spirit speaks of the poet's vocation in a Dantesque voice : “Since our concern was speech, and speech impelled us/ To purify the dialect of the tribe/ And urge the mind to aftersight and foresight...” ( lines 73-75)

In the third part of ‘Little Gidding’, as in the first three Quartets, we hear the third voice, the counterpoint to the second, opposing the heavenly topos — the rose garden, the Medieval dance and the endless ocean, the peace and unity after life. Here we have the infernal topos, which in the first two Quartets was a voice from the darkness of the London Tube. In the end, however, the way in and the way out, as well as the way up and the way down, are the same way. Beyond the darkness, down inside us, is the way out and the way up — to eternity. “The still point of the turning world” can be projected anywhere in space and time, even though it is beyond space and time. Here is how the third part begins:

There are three conditions which often look alike
Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow: 

Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment

From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference 

Which resembles the others as death resembles life,

Being between two lives — unflowering, between 

The live and the dead nettle. ... (III, 1-7)

The nettle is a symbol of suffering. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia drowns after making herself a wreath that includes nettles. But inside ourselves, in memory, we can find liberation from both future and past. Further on in this part of the last Quartet, Milton appears, the blind Republican and Puritan poet (1608-1674) who lived in the time of Cromwell and the Civil War. However, he is now reconciled with the executed king:

If I think of a king at nightfall,
Of three men, and more, on the scaffold

...And of one who died blind and quiet 86

Why should we celebrate
These dead men more than the dying? (III, 26-32)

Those who had been enemies and fought against each other "Accept the constitution of silence and are folded in a single party". Here the "spectre of a Rose" appears — a symbol of England this time.

The fourth part of ‘Little Gidding’, like the corresponding parts of the other three Quartets, is the shortest, and in it we hear the lyrical-symbolistic voice, in this case singing in two septet stanzas. Here the image of a dove is mingled with the image of a falling burning airplane. Here also appears “the shirt of fire” the fire of self-sacrifice, the stake or pyre, the Pentecostal fire and the fire of Divine Love.

Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove. (IV, 9-12) ...

In the fifth part of the last Quartet, again we mainly hear the philosophical voice, as in the other three Quartets, and here again it speaks about the words themselves, about the imperfect words of humans and the Word of God; about how, through the means of temporal art, the words try to introduce the eternal or to introduce us to the eternal. “Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,/Every poem an epitaph. And any action/Is a step to the block, to the fire, ...” (lines 11-13)

In this final part of ‘Little Gidding’ and of Four Quartets as a whole, the rose (from the rose garden at Burnt Norton, where the thrush had called us) meets the Pentecostal fire, the fire of the Holy Spirit.

And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one. (V, 42-46)

These are the last lines of Eliot’s last Quartet. Apart from being a vivid metaphor — the flames of the rose are the petals of the fire — the rose and the fire are also symbols, central symbols in Four Quartets.

In a metaphor, the signified, the rose, is clear, obvious (if the signifier is the fire). In a symbol, the signified is not so obvious. The meaning of a symbol depends on the context. We have to know the context in order to understand it.

So when and in what sense do these symbols, the fire and rose, become one? We have seen that the rose, in a Christian context, can be symbol of the Virgin (Rosa Sempiterna) The rose garden can also be the Garden of Eden. However, in a political context, the rose is a symbol of England. As a wartime poem, ‘Little Gidding’ has a patriotic meaning too. Here history (the English Civil War ) and reality (the bombing of London during WWII ) are mingled. Finally, in the most popular context, in the context of human relationships, the rose is a symbol of love.

Fire can be death (neighbourhoods burning under bombs, stakes, funeral pyres), but it could also be a symbol of self- sacrifice, martyrdom, and purification — it is the Purgatorial fire, the Pentecostal fire, the fire of the Holy Spirit. Self- sacrifice can be done out of love —- a hero’s love for the


homeland, a martyr’s love of God or the sacrifice of the individual talent in the name of tradition.ix The fire and the rose, death and life, spirit and body, become one at the end of the poem. This is not simply poetic symbolism or an abstract aesthetic message. Although an aesthete and formalist, Eliot also believed that ethical standards must be applied in the evaluation of a work of literaturex So, not only philosophy and music, but also ethics and aesthetics become one at the end of ‘Little Gidding’ and of Eliot's Four Quartets as a whole.


The musical structure of Four Quartets can also be called musico-philosophical. Poetry is a temporal art, it develops in time like music, and the main philosophical theme of the Quartets is the theme of time (and its relationship to eternity). It is expressed through a musical structure.

We will analyse in more detail the philosophical ideas in the first Quartet, ‘Burnt Norton’, written before Eliot decided to repeat its structure and write three more philosophical poems about the relation between time and eternity.

Let us first consider the concepts of linear and circular time, as well as the concept of the "fixed point of the turning world”, which, in addition to the structural framework and the four instruments ‘playing’ those concepts, unites the Quartets.

The eschatological, linear concept of time suggests both a beginning (with the Creation of the world by God or the Big Bang) and an end, Judgment Day, or the end of our world through the destruction of the Earth and humankind for some cosmic reason.

But does time really exist, and does it have a beginning and an end, like human life? Or is it a cycle, like the annual cycle of the seasons? In which case, everything will happen

Nevertheless, we are born, we mature, grow old and die. But the seasons are spinning. Societies and worlds are also born, mature, grow old and die. And new ones are born. The buried

obvious. But today we usually think of time, historical or personal time, as linear. However, isn't our personal time in this world, from the cradle to the grave, just a small arc from a far larger circle? Isn't

even human history a small arc of a larger circle?
There have been prophets, often blind, such as Tiresias,

who, in addition to his appearance in Oedipus the King, is also the speaker in ‘The Fire Sermon’, the third part of The Waste Land, a prophet who can see the future as well as the past. K.G. Jung’s theory of synchronicity (about coincidences that have no causal connection) attempts to rationalise this mystical notion of seers and foreseeing, of overcoming linear time and causality. The theory of relativity, the relativity of time and space, the idea of parallel worlds, string theory — the modern scientific theories sound far more fantastic than the classical religious notions of a chain of death and rebirth, or of the eternal life of the soul after death.

‘Burnt Norton’ begins with: “Time present and time past/Are both perhaps present in time future...” Later, in part II of the poem, the turning wheel and the axle-tree that turns it, “the still point of the turning world”, appear:

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;

 Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is

...Except for the point, the still point,

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. 

I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.

And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time. (II,16-23)

The "axis" of the turning world is the fixed point, the centre. It is not in time and space. Time does not stop, the seasons never stop alternating, and it is always now. It is now when we write or read this sentence. Now is the centre, which is everywhere, and the circle is nowhere.

Religious holidays, for example, happen every year. Although it is in time, for Christians, Christmas is a constant repetition of the birth of Christ, which is a sacred event beyond time. The plot of Murder in the Cathedral develops around Christmas when the murder of St. Thomas Becket takes place. Winter solstice, after which the day begins to grow, almost coincides with Christmas. Christmas has a pre-Christian prototype, from Roman times, as the celebration of the birth of Light: Dies Natalis Soli Invicti. A traditional holiday is repeated every year in each respective community and thus provides an idea of eternity beyond time. The repetition of a sacred event connects people to the “fixed point of the turning world”, to the centre of the circle, because it is its projection on the circumference. The cycle has a fixed centre. The still point is not in time or in space. But it is in each one of us. The centre is everywhere at any time.

And as the world turns, as we move toward the end of the world, it may be that we are actually moving toward the beginning: “In my end is my beginning”.

Time and eternity acquire very concrete visualisations in the Four Quartets: the rose garden and the London Underground, the Medieval village with the dancing peasants and again the city underground, the sea and the river and, finally, in the last Quartet — the church and the city.

The fire and the rose are one. And we enter the fire like dancers. The musical structure of the Quartets, the philosophical theme played by the four ‘musical instruments’, the musical movements as philosophical theme, as well as the metaphorical landscapes, this verbal dance expresses the main theme of Four Quartets: the relationship between time and eternity. This theme sounds beyond the meaning of the words. The structure of the poems is their meaning.


Ackroyd, P. T. S. Eliot. London: Abacus, 1985. Beethoven, Opus 132 A minor (Quartet #15)

The Bhagavad Gita. Trans. Juan Mascaro. London: Penguin Classics, 2003 

Bloom, H. Reflections on T. S. Eliot. Raritan: A Quarterly Review. Vol.8 #2, Fall 1988.

Boyde, P. Dante Philomythes and Philosopher: Man in the Cosmos.

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1981. Cooper, J. ‘T. S. Eliot and Anti-Semitism’


Digital Dante < https://digitaldante.columbia.edu/dante/divine-comedy/paradiso/paradiso-32/>.

Drury, J. The Poetry Dictionary. Cincinnati, ОH: Starry Press, 1995.
Eliot, T. S.
Collected Poems (1909–1962). London: Faber and Faber, 1963. Eliot, T. S. Complete Poems and Plays. London: Faber and Faber, 1987. Eliot, T. S. The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition, Vol. 2: The Perfect Critic. London: Faber and Faber, 2014

Eliot, T.S. The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition, Vol. 5: Tradition and Orthodoxy. London:Faber and Faber, 2017
Eliot, T.S.
The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition, Vol. 6: The War Years. London:Faber and Faber, 2017

Eliot, T.S. The Letters of T. S. Eliot: Vol. 1: 1898-1922 Ed. Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton, London: Faber and Faber, 2009

Eliot, T.S. The Letters of T. S. Eliot: Vol. 5: 1930-1931 Ed. Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden, London: Faber and Faber, 2014
Eliot, T.S.
The Poems of T. S. Eliot: Collected and Uncollected Poems. Ed.

Eliot, T. S. Selected Prose. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975 (‘Reflections on Vers Libre’, ‘Religion and Literature’, ‘The Music of Poetry')

Eliot, T. S. The Three Voices of Poetry. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1954.154

Eliot, T. S. The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1921 (‘Hamlet and His Problems', ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’)

Fairchild, T. ‘Time and Eternity in Eliots Four Quartets’. Modern Science and Vedic Science, Volume 9, Number 1, 1999 [pdf].

Frost, R. ‘The Sound of Sense: Letter to John Bartlett’, 4 July 1913 <http://udallasclassics.org/wp-content/uploads/maurer_files/Frost.pdf>.

Gardner, H. The Art of T. S. Eliot. London: Dutton Paperback Faber and Faber, 1968.

Gardner, H.
Gonzalez, P. ‘Time and Permanence in T. S. Eliot
s Four Quartets’. Kirk

Center, 27 Oct. 2014. <https://kirkcenter.org/essays/time-permanence-eliot-fourquartets>.

Gordon, Lyndall. The Hyacinth Girl. London: Virago, 2022

Guardini, C. ‘Classicism and Abstraction in T. S. Eliots Four Quartets: Poetry and Dance’. Lingue Antche e Moderne 3, 2014.

Hall, D. ‘T. S. Eliot, The Art of Poetry’ No. 1. The Paris Review, 2004. Hollander, J. ‘The Music of Poetry’. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art

Criticism, 15(2), 1956, pp. 232–244.
Howard, Th.
Dove Descending: A Journey into T. S. Eliots Four Quartets.

Sapienta Classics/Ignatius Press, 2006. 

Hubbard, G. T. S. Eliots Four Quartets: Its Relation to Music, and Its Dependence upon Musical Form and Techniques. G. K. Hubbard, 1962 <https://ruor.uottawa.ca/bitstream/10393/22119/1/EC56128.PDF>.

Hughes, G. ‘T. S. Eliots Four Quartets: A Pattern of Timeless Moments’. Voegelinview, 10 Nov. 2012.

Kramer, K. P. Redeeming Time: T. S. Eliots Four Quartets. Lanham, MD: Cowley Publ., 2007.

Mewada, A. ‘Significance of Time in the Poetry of T. S. Eliot'. New Man Publication, Volume 2, Issue 6, June 2015 [pdf].

Mazzeo, J. A. ‘Dantes Sun Symbolism’. Italica.Vol. 33 #4 (Dec. 1956), pp. 243–251 (Pibl. By American Association of Teachers of Italian).

McNelly, W. E. T. S. Eliots Four Quartets: A Study in Explication (1948). Masters Theses <https://ecommons.luc.edu/luc_theses/780>.

Moody, D. ‘Four Quartets: music, word, meaning and value’. The Cambridge Pound, E. ABC of Reading. London: Faber and Faber, 1951.


Probstein, I. ‘Liberation from the Future as well as the Past: Time-Space,Reality, and History in T.S. Eliots Four Quartets’. Academia.<http://www.academia.edu/29905269/TimeSpace_Reality_ and_History_in_T.S._Eliot_s_Four_Quartets_.docx?fbclid=IwAR0L>.

Rees, Th. ‘The Orchestration of Meaning in T. S. Eliots Four Quartets’. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 28, no. 1, 1969, pp. 63–69

Seward, B. ‘Dantes Mystic Rose’. Studies in Philology. Vol. 52 #4 (Oct. 1955), pp. 515–523.

Schwartz, D. ‘T. S. Eliots Voice and His Voices’: III. Poetry, Vol. 85, No. 4 (Jan. 1955), pp. 232–242. Published by: Poetry Foundation <https://www.jstor.org/stable/20585575>.

Stefanato, S. The Music of Poetry: T. S. Eliot and the Case of Four Quartets. Edizioni ETS <http://www.edizioniets.com/Priv_File_Libro/3495.pdf>.

Tearle, O. A Short Analysis of T .S. Eliots Four Quartets

Vendler, H. ‘The Poet T. S. Eliot’ <http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,988497,00.html

Virkar-Yates, A. ‘Absolute Music and the Death of Desire: Beethoven, Schopenhauer, Wagner and Eliots Four Quartets’’. 156 Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 40, no. 2, 2017, pp. 79–93. Literature Resource Center.

Warner, M. ‘T. S. Eliots Four Quartets as Quartets: Four Voices in the

Conversation of Mankind’. Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society (UK), 3,2011, pp. 47–70.

Woods, J. C. The Voices of Silence: Meditations on T. S. Eliots Four

Quartets. createspace.com, 2013.
Williamson, G. A
Readers Guide to T. S. Eliot. Syracuse. N.Y.: Syracuse. Univ. Press

i Eliot, T. S. ‘The Music of Poetry’ in The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition. Volumes 1-8. Edited by Ronald Schuchard et al., The Johns Hopkins University Press; Faber and Faber Ltd., 2021. Vol 6, p310
ii Eliot, T.S. The Letters of T. S. Eliot: Vol. 1: 1898-1922 Ed. Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton, London: Faber and Faber, 2009, xxxvii

iii Eliot, T.S. The Poems of T. S. Eliot: Collected and Uncollected Poems. Ed. Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue Vol. 1. London: Faber and Faber, 2019, pp177-209
iv Eliot, T.S. The Letters of T. S. Eliot: Vol. 5: 1930-1931 Ed. Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden, London: Faber and Faber, 2014, p529

v Gardner, H. The Art of T. S. Eliot. London: Dutton Paperback Faber and Faber, 1968.
vi The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot, ibid
vii Eliot, T. S. ‘The Three Voices in Poetry’ in The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition. Volumes 1-8. Edited by Ronald Schuchard et al., The Johns Hopkins University Press; Faber and Faber Ltd., 2021. Vol 7, p817 viii Digital Dante < https://digitaldante.columbia.edu/dante/divine-

ix comedy/paradiso/paradiso-32/> (Par.xxx 124-6)
Eliot, T. S. ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ in
The Complete Prose of

T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition. Volumes 1-8. Edited by Ronald Schuchard et al., The Johns Hopkins University Press; Faber and Faber Ltd., 2021. Vol 2, p105 x Eliot, T. S. ‘Religion and Literature’ in The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition. Volumes 1-8. Edited by Ronald Schuchard et al., The Johns Hopkins University Press; Faber and Faber Ltd., 2021. Vol 5, p218